Hyderabad: The job of handling and cremating the bodies of those who died of Covid-19 is especially challenging because there is a risk of the people handling the bodies to get infected. In spite to this, few people are volunteering for this job so that they can help the families of the deceased by giving the deceased a decent burial.
Srinivas Bellam, a member of the NGO ‘Feed the Needy,’ has been doing his bit to help these families. The NGO arranges ambulances with a driver and a person to handle the cremation process.
Bellam says, “We started this service after one of my friend’s mother succumbed to Covid-19 and the family was charged Rs 40,000 for the cremation. We ourselves then decided to provide cremation services. We began the initiative in June last year and continued it till December 2020. After taking a break, we restarted the services in April as the cases began rising.”
The group charges Rs 15,000 for each cremation, much less than the Rs 40,000 that what many charge. “Sometimes, if the families cannot afford to spare the money, we bear their expenses.
We feel that this service is the need of the hour. We send two persons to help in cremation works, and they take all precautions when they are close to the body. We have carried out nearly 200 cremations till date,” Bellam says.Zeeshan, another member of the NGO who handles the bodies before their cremation, says in spite of being in close proximity to the bodies, he is not scared of being infected.
“I feel that when a family cannot take the responsibility of cremating someone, it is our duty to do so. Sometimes we have to be firm too, when kin of the deceased want to touch the bodies. I only permit them to view the face and then ask them to move away.